Friday, July 3, 2009

...ever since the Great Depression - Tie this in to the New World Order...this ought to enlighten you!

Source: Rolling Stone

The Great American Bubble Machine

Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression


Posted Jul 02, 2009

In Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83, Matt Taibbi takes on "the Wall Street Bubble Mafia" — investment bank Goldman Sachs. The piece has generated controversy, with Goldman Sachs firing back that Taibbi's piece is "an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories" and a spokesman adding, "We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance in being a force for good." Taibbi shot back: "Goldman has its alumni pushing its views from the pulpit of the U.S. Treasury, the NYSE, the World Bank, and numerous other important posts; it also has former players fronting major TV shows. They have the ear of the president if they want it." Here, now, are excerpts from Matt Taibbi's piece and video of Taibbi exploring the key issues.

Matt Taibbi On Goldman Sachs' Big Scam

From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.

The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it's everywhere. The world's most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.

Any attempt to construct a narrative around all the former Goldmanites in influential positions quickly becomes an absurd and pointless exercise, like trying to make a list of everything. What you need to know is the big picture: If America is circling the drain, Goldman Sachs has found a way to be that drain — an extremely unfortunate loophole in the system of Western democratic capitalism, which never foresaw that in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy.

They achieve this using the same playbook over and over again. The formula is relatively simple: Goldman positions itself in the middle of a speculative bubble, selling investments they know are crap. Then they hoover up vast sums from the middle and lower floors of society with the aid of a crippled and corrupt state that allows it to rewrite the rules in exchange for the relative pennies the bank throws at political patronage. Finally, when it all goes bust, leaving millions of ordinary citizens broke and starving, they begin the entire process over again, riding in to rescue us all by lending us back our own money at interest, selling themselves as men above greed, just a bunch of really smart guys keeping the wheels greased. They've been pulling this same stunt over and over since the 1920s — and now they're preparing to do it again, creating what may be the biggest and most audacious bubble yet.

See Taibbi discuss Goldman Sachs' big scam.

NEXT: Goldman Sachs' Role in the Housing and Internet Busts

Matt Taibbi on Goldman Sachs' Role
in the Housing and Internet Busts

From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.

The basic scam in the Internet Age is pretty easy even for the financially illiterate to grasp. Companies that weren't much more than pot-fueled ideas scrawled on napkins by up-too-late bong-smokers were taken public via IPOs, hyped in the media and sold to the public for megamillions. It was as if banks like Goldman were wrapping ribbons around watermelons, tossing them out 50-story windows and opening the phones for bids. In this game you were a winner only if you took your money out before the melon hit the pavement.

It sounds obvious now, but what the average investor didn't know at the time was that the banks had changed the rules of the game, making the deals look better than they actually were. They did this by setting up what was, in reality, a two-tiered investment system — one for the insiders who knew the real numbers, and another for the lay investor who was invited to chase soaring prices the banks themselves knew were irrational. While Goldman's later pattern would be to capitalize on changes in the regulatory environment, its key innovation in the Internet years was to abandon its own industry's standards of quality control.

Goldman's role in the sweeping global disaster that was the housing bubble is not hard to trace. Here again, the basic trick was a decline in underwriting standards, although in this case the standards weren't in IPOs but in mortgages. By now almost everyone knows that for decades mortgage dealers insisted that home buyers be able to produce a down payment of 10 percent or more, show a steady income and good credit rating, and possess a real first and last name. Then, at the dawn of the new millennium, they suddenly threw all that shit out the window and started writing mortgages on the backs of napkins to cocktail waitresses and ex-cons carrying five bucks and a Snickers bar.

And what caused the huge spike in oil prices? Take a wild guess. Obviously Goldman had help — there were other players in the physical-commodities market — but the root cause had almost everything to do with the behavior of a few powerful actors determined to turn the once-solid market into a speculative casino. Goldman did it by persuading pension funds and other large institutional investors to invest in oil futures — agreeing to buy oil at a certain price on a fixed date. The push transformed oil from a physical commodity, rigidly subject to supply and demand, into something to bet on, like a stock. Between 2003 and 2008, the amount of speculative money in commodities grew from $13 billion to $317 billion, an increase of 2,300 percent. By 2008, a barrel of oil was traded 27 times, on average, before it was actually delivered and consumed.

See Matt Taibbi discuss Goldman Sachs' role
in the housing and internet busts.

NEXT: Goldman Sachs Graduates in the Government

Matt Taibbi Runs Down Goldman' Sachs Graduates with Government Positions

From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.

The history of the recent financial crisis, which doubles as a history of the rapid decline and fall of the suddenly swindled-dry American empire, reads like a Who's Who of Goldman Sachs graduates. By now, most of us know the major players. As George Bush's last Treasury secretary, former Goldman CEO Henry Paulson was the architect of the bailout, a suspiciously self-serving plan to funnel trillions of Your Dollars to a handful of his old friends on Wall Street. Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton's former Treasury secretary, spent 26 years at Goldman before becoming chairman of Citigroup — which in turn got a $300 billion taxpayer bailout from Paulson. There's John Thain, the asshole chief of Merrill Lynch who bought an $87,000 area rug for his office as his company was imploding; a former Goldman banker, Thain enjoyed a multibillion-dollar handout from Paulson, who used billions in taxpayer funds to help Bank of America rescue Thain's sorry company. And Robert Steel, the former Goldmanite head of Wachovia, scored himself and his fellow executives $225 million in golden-parachute payments as his bank was self-destructing. There's Joshua Bolten, Bush's chief of staff during the bailout, and Mark Patterson, the current Treasury chief of staff, who was a Goldman lobbyist just a year ago, and Ed Liddy, the former Goldman director whom Paulson put in charge of bailed-out insurance giant AIG, which forked over $13 billion to Goldman after Liddy came on board. The heads of the Canadian and Italian national banks are Goldman alums, as is the head of the World Bank, the head of the New York Stock Exchange, the last two heads of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — which, incidentally, is now in charge of overseeing Goldman.

But then, something happened. It's hard to say what it was exactly; it might have been the fact that Goldman's co-chairman in the early Nineties, Robert Rubin, followed Bill Clinton to the White House, where he directed the National Economic Council and eventually became Treasury secretary. While the American media fell in love with the story line of a pair of baby-boomer, Sixties-child, Fleetwood Mac yuppies nesting in the White House, it also nursed an undisguised crush on Rubin, who was hyped as without a doubt the smartest person ever to walk the face of the Earth, with Newton, Einstein, Mozart and Kant running far behind.

Rubin was the prototypical Goldman banker. He was probably born in a $4,000 suit, he had a face that seemed permanently frozen just short of an apology for being so much smarter than you, and he exuded a Spock-like, emotion-neutral exterior; the only human feeling you could imagine him experiencing was a nightmare about being forced to fly coach. It became almost a national cliché that whatever Rubin thought was best for the economy — a phenomenon that reached its apex in 1999, when Rubin appeared on the cover of Time with his Treasury deputy, Larry Summers, and Fed chief Alan Greenspan under the headline the committee to save the world. And "what Rubin thought," mostly, was that the American economy, and in particular the financial markets, were over-regulated and needed to be set free. During his tenure at Treasury, the Clinton White House made a series of moves that would have drastic consequences for the global economy — beginning with Rubin's complete and total failure to regulate his old firm during its first mad dash for obscene short-term profits.

See Matt Taibbi run down Goldman Sachs graduates with government positions.

NEXT: Goldman Sachs' Powerful Influence

Goldman Sachs' Powerful Influence

From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.

After the oil bubble collapsed last fall, there was no new bubble to keep things humming — this time, the money seems to be really gone, like worldwide-depression gone. So the financial safari has moved elsewhere, and the big game in the hunt has become the only remaining pool of dumb, unguarded capital left to feed upon: taxpayer money. Here, in the biggest bailout in history, is where Goldman Sachs really started to flex its muscle.

It began in September of last year, when then-Treasury secretary Paulson made a momentous series of decisions. Although he had already engineered a rescue of Bear Stearns a few months before and helped bail out quasi-private lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Paulson elected to let Lehman Brothers — one of Goldman's last real competitors — collapse without intervention. ("Goldman's superhero status was left intact," says market analyst Eric Salzman, "and an investment-banking competitor, Lehman, goes away.") The very next day, Paulson greenlighted a massive, $85 billion bailout of AIG, which promptly turned around and repaid $13 billion it owed to Goldman. Thanks to the rescue effort, the bank ended up getting paid in full for its bad bets: By contrast, retired auto workers awaiting the Chrysler bailout will be lucky to receive 50 cents for every dollar they are owed.

Immediately after the AIG bailout, Paulson announced his federal bailout for the financial industry, a $700 billion plan called the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and put a heretofore unknown 35-year-old Goldman banker named Neel Kashkari in charge of administering the funds. In order to qualify for bailout monies, Goldman announced that it would convert from an investment bank to a bank-holding company, a move that allows it access not only to $10 billion in TARP funds, but to a whole galaxy of less conspicuous, publicly backed funding — most notably, lending from the discount window of the Federal Reserve. By the end of March, the Fed will have lent or guaranteed at least $8.7 trillion under a series of new bailout programs — and thanks to an obscure law allowing the Fed to block most congressional audits, both the amounts and the recipients of the monies remain almost entirely secret.

Converting to a bank-holding company has other benefits as well: Goldman's primary supervisor is now the New York Fed, whose chairman at the time of its announcement was Stephen Friedman, a former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs. Friedman was technically in violation of Federal Reserve policy by remaining on the board of Goldman even as he was supposedly regulating the bank; in order to rectify the problem, he applied for, and got, a conflict-of-interest waiver from the government. Friedman was also supposed to divest himself of his Goldman stock after Goldman became a bank-holding company, but thanks to the waiver, he was allowed to go out and buy 52,000 additional shares in his old bank, leaving him $3 million richer. Friedman stepped down in May, but the man now in charge of supervising Goldman — New York Fed president William Dudley — is yet another former Goldmanite.

The collective message of all of this — the AIG bailout, the swift approval for its bank-holding conversion, the TARP funds — is that when it comes to Goldman Sachs, there isn't a free market at all. The government might let other players on the market die, but it simply will not allow Goldman to fail under any circumstances. Its edge in the market has suddenly become an open declaration of supreme privilege. "In the past it was an implicit advantage," says Simon Johnson, an economics professor at MIT and former official at the International Monetary Fund, who compares the bailout to the crony capitalism he has seen in Third World countries. "Now it's more of an explicit advantage."

See Matt Taibbi discuss Goldman Sachs' powerful influence

NEXT: Goldman Sachs' Excuse

Matt Taibbi on Goldman Sachs' Excuse

From Matt Taibbi's "The Great American Bubble Machine" in Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83.

Fast-forward to today. It's early June in Washington, D.C. Barack Obama, a popular young politician whose leading private campaign donor was an investment bank called Goldman Sachs — its employees paid some $981,000 to his campaign — sits in the White House. Having seamlessly navigated the political minefield of the bailout era, Goldman is once again back to its old business, scouting out loopholes in a new government-created market with the aid of a new set of alumni occupying key government jobs.

Gone are Hank Paulson and Neel Kashkari; in their place are Treasury chief of staff Mark Patterson and CFTC chief Gary Gensler, both former Goldmanites. (Gensler was the firm's co-head of finance.) And instead of credit derivatives or oil futures or mortgage-backed CDOs, the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion- dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an "environmental plan," called cap-and-trade. The new carbon-credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance.

See Matt Taibbi react to Goldman Sachs' excuse

Related Stories:

Please Pray...and then pray some more

Source: Gathering Of Eagles (GOE)
Please Pray
Published: 07/02/2009 Posted On: July 2, 2009 By: Kathy
US: American soldier captured in Afghanistan

KABUL (AP) — US military spokeswoman says insurgents have captured an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan.

Capt. Elizabeth Mathias said the soldier has been missing since Tuesday. She said she could not provide further information.

Mathias said the military was using "all our resources to find him and provide for his safe return."

The soldier was not taking part in the major military operation launched in the southern Taliban stronghold of Helmand early Thursday.


Source: GOE

And then pray some more:
Published: 07/02/2009 Posted On: July 2, 2009 By: Kathy

NAWA, Afghanistan (AP) - U.S. Marines suffered their first casualties of a massive new military campaign Thursday as they engaged in sporadic gunbattles along 55 miles of Taliban-controlled heartland in southern Afghanistan.

One Marine was killed and several others were injured or wounded on the first full day of the assault, the largest military operation in Afghanistan since the fall of Taliban government in 2001.

The offensive will test the Obama administration's new strategy of holding territory and letting the Afghan government sink roots in Helmand province. The insurgency has proven particularly resilient in this area, where foreign troops have never before operated in such large numbers.

President Barack Obama told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday that he has a "very narrow definition of success when it comes to our national security interests" in the region. "And that is that al-Qaida and its affiliates cannot set up safe havens from which to attack Americans."

(AP) U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines board helicopters...
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"I think we can measure it by whether or not they've got training camps where people are coming in and getting trained in explosives, being sent out and directed in carrying out terrorist activity," Obama said in Washington.

An immediate goal, the military says, is to clear away insurgents before the nation's Aug. 20 presidential election. Southern Afghanistan is a Taliban stronghold but also a region where Afghan President Hamid Karzai is seeking votes from fellow Pashtun tribesmen. Without such a large Marine assault, the Afghan government would likely not be able to set up voting booths to which citizens could safely travel.

The Pentagon is deploying 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in time for the elections and expects the total number of U.S. forces there to reach 68,000 by year's end. That is double the number of troops in Afghanistan in 2008 but still half as many as are now in Iraq.

Even bigger challenges, perhaps, will come in the weeks and months after the Marines have established their presence here.

The U.S. will have an opportunity to help develop alternate livelihoods for farmers whose opium poppy crops bankroll the Taliban. Helmand province is the world's largest opium poppy-producing area.

(AP) U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines wait at Camp...
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Obama told the AP he wants to help ensure that Afghans "are benefiting from development and improved agricultural systems and education systems and health care systems."

He also said Washington and its allies must build up the Afghan national army and police and help Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan secure their common border.

"The benchmarks of success that we've laid out are: Are we building an Afghan national army and police structure that can secure itself without the assistance of NATO forces or U.S. forces? Is Pakistan able to maintain its borders so that al-Qaida or affiliates aren't operating there?" Obama said.

Pakistan's army said Thursday it had moved troops from elsewhere on its side of the Afghan border to the stretch opposite Helmand to try to stop any militants from fleeing the offensive. Helmand's strategic setting will give the U.S. an opportunity to interdict fighters coming from Pakistan

Elsewhere, the U.S. military announced that insurgents were believed to have captured an American soldier in eastern Afghanistan on Tuesday. The missing soldier was not involved in Operation Khanjar, or "Strike of the Sword," under way in southern Afghanistan.

(AP) U.S Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines climb on to a...
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The southern offensive was launched shortly after 1 a.m. Thursday as thousands of Marines poured from helicopters and armored vehicles into villages along the Helmand River. Officials described the offensive, involving almost 4,000 newly arrived Marines and more than 600 Afghan security forces, as the largest and fastest-moving of the war's new phase.

The troops fanned out into the districts of Nawa and Garmser in central Helmand and up to 55 miles south in the vicinity of Khan Neshin, the capital of Rig district, according to the military.

Last summer, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit took the Garmser town and helped provide security for an area U.S. commanders say is now relatively secure. The U.S. would now like to replicate that success elsewhere in the province.

In Nawa village, Marines took militants by surprise by dropping behind Taliban lines, said Capt. Drew Schoenmaker, 31, of Greene, N.Y.

"We are kind of forging new ground here. We are going to a place nobody has been before," said Schoenmaker, who commands Bravo Company of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

(AP) U.S. Marines from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 1st Battalion 5th Marines rest along a tree...
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At 3 a.m., several hundred Marines took positions in a freshly plowed dirt field around Nawa. The soft, deep dirt proved challenging for troops weighed down with days' worth of water, food and gear. Many frequently stumbled.

At daybreak the Marines walked along tree lines, and at 6:15 a.m. the company took its first incoming fire, likely from an AK-47 along a tree line. The next three hours brought repeated bursts of gunfire and volleys of rocket-propelled grenades, sending deep booms across the countryside.

A small force of Afghan soldiers accompanying the Camp Pendleton-based Marines got into several scraps with an insurgent force of about 20 fighters firing from a mud-brick compound.

The Marines, the Afghan soldiers and their British advisers surrounded the compound from the east and the south.

Before the mission, Schoenmaker, the company commander, said he would practice "tactical patience" as a way to avoid civilian casualties - an issue newly arrived Gen. Stanley McChrystal has underscored in recent weeks. Although troops in many similar circumstances have called in airstrikes on militant-controlled compounds, Schoenmaker did not.

(AP) Map locates Helmand province, Afghanistan, where a U.S. offensive is underway
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"We made the decision to isolate the compound and not destroy it because we couldn't confirm if civilians were inside," he said. The militants were believed to have escaped out the back.

A Cobra helicopter circling overhead for most of the day fired rockets at a tree line nearby. Other Marines walked through fields of corn and hay. Only a handful of villagers dared to venture outside in the area of crisscrossing canals, mud houses and lush tree-lined fields.

The military said it had no confirmed reports of civilian casualties or damage to property and pointed out that it did not use artillery or other indirect fire. No bombs were dropped from aircraft, it said. There was no information about casualties among militant fighters.

Helmand's temperatures of well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit proved to be another enemy for the Marines. Because the troops were on foot, they had to carry all their own water and food. Forward observers and snipers spent the entire day under the cloudless sky.

"It's like when you open up the oven when you're cooking a pizza and you want to see if it's done, you get that blast of hot air. That's how it feels the whole time," said Lance Corp. Charlie Duggan Jr., 21, of Baldwinsville, N.Y.

But the Marines trained for months in the heat of the Mojave desert for the deployment, and many appeared happy to be here.

At one point, some 50 Marines were relaxing in an abandoned and dilapidated mud brick compound, their dusty-brown uniforms stained with perspiration. Someone spotted an Afghan male who appeared to be observing them from a nearby road.

The Marines quickly threw on their flak jackets and Kevlar helmets.

"It sucks, but it's what you've been training for your whole life," Lt. Chris Wilson, 25, of Ramsey, N.J., said with a smile as he held a radio with an eight-foot antenna. Thursday was Wilson's first mission into a combat zone.


Associated Press writers Jennifer Loven in Washington, Fisnik Abrashi in Kabul and Nahal Toosi in Islamabad contributed to this report


Two Stories Here...somebody is lying (odds are in favor that it's Obama)

Story Number One...

Gibbs: 'Stimulus plan is working' despite job losses

Posted: 07/02/09 02:24 PM [ET]

Despite losing almost a half-million jobs in June, the economy is showing signs of recovery, the White House said Thursday.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president joins the American people in being "impatient for results" as Republicans are howling that Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan has done nothing to halt job losses.

"There's a sense that beginnings of stabilization are taking hold, and hopefully the worst job loss is behind us," Gibbs said, adding the president was "deeply disappointed by the continued job loss" as the national unemployment rate moved up to 9.5 percent.

Gibbs said he "absolutely" believes that number is "definitely headed to 10 percent."

"It may not be next month, but I would assume in the next two to three months I think it's quite clear that we'll hit that number," Gibbs said.

The president met with business leaders Thursday afternoon to discuss job creation.

After the meeting, Obama, talking to reporters in the Rose Garden, said the meeting "is a timely discussion on a day of sobering news."

Obama noted that June's job losses were not as bad as those in recent months, and he said he is seeing some positive signs the economy is starting to recover.

"Obviously, this is of little comfort to all those Americans who've lost their jobs," the president said.

Republicans are continuing to double-down on their bet that Obama's stimulus gamble will ultimately fail, saving few jobs at an enormous cost.

In June, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told a group of TV producers that he thought "the economy is just as likely to begin to recover on its own, wholly aside from this, before much of [the stimulus] has an impact."

"So I’m very skeptical that this massive sort of spending binge that we’ve engaged in is going to have much of an impact," McConnell said.

Under intense fire from Republicans who have questioned from the beginning whether the stimulus plan would work, Gibbs said flatly Thursday that "the stimulus plan is working."

Story Number Two...

Joblessness Hits 9.5%, Deflating Recovery Hopes

Published: July 2, 2009

The American economy lost 467,000 more jobs in June, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.5 percent in a sobering indication that the longest recession since the 1930s had yet to release its hold.


Economix: A Setback on Jobs

Times Topics: Unemployment Credit Crisis — The Essentials

Today's Business: Peter Goodman on Rising Unemployment
“The numbers are indicative of a continued, very severe recession,” said Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services in Pittsburgh. “There’s nothing in here to show that the economy and the market are pulling out of the grip of recession.”

The Labor Department’s monthly snapshot of employment, released Thursday, challenged visions of a recovery already taking root. The numbers intensify pressure on the Obama administration to show returns on programs aimed at improving national fortunes — not least its $787 billion stimulus plan.

Some economists are now calling for another dose of government spending to stimulate the economy, though the White House maintains that enough money is in the pipeline already.

“Not all the recovery money has been put to work yet,” said the labor secretary, Hilda L. Solis. “We’re making progress.”

But Ms. Solis acknowledged that joblessness was already much worse than the administration projected in January when it created its stimulus spending bill, suggesting then that joblessness would peak at about 8 percent.

Asked why the unemployment rate is already much higher, Ms. Solis noted that much of the stimulus money was moving slowly, with construction projects in particular requiring time-consuming government permits.

“Over all, it’s been a challenge,” Ms. Solis said. “We still have a ways to go.”

That explanation echoed criticism that some initially leveled at the spending package when it was debated in Congress: many of the projects would take too long to get going, creating too few jobs in the near term. Still, Ms. Solis portrayed the program as a success.

“We would have done much worse had we not put the recovery plan in place,” she said.

In recent weeks, positive signs have emerged that automakers are beginning to see stronger sales, factories are gaining more orders, and housing prices have stopped falling in some markets. But the jobs report injected the sense that paychecks are disappearing so swiftly that consumer spending is likely to be tight, limiting economic activity. The gloomy news caused the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index to tumble more than 2 percent.

Indeed, the report reinforced a consensus that high levels of unemployment are likely to afflict American life for many months and perhaps much longer. That will dump more jobless people into a weak job market, making it harder for those already unemployed to find work and pressing down wages and hours.

After a May report that showed the pace of deterioration was moderating, some economists expressed hopes that an economic recovery might finally be emerging. But the June report tempered such thoughts.

For another month, manufacturing jobs disappeared, dipping by 136,000, while construction jobs shrank by 79,000 and retail by 21,000. Health care remained a rare bright spot, adding 21,000.

The losses for June lifted net jobs shed since the beginning of the recession to 6.5 million — equal to the net job gain over the previous nine years.

“This is the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all jobs growth from the previous business cycle,” Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the labor-oriented Economic Policy Institute in Washington, said in a research note. She called this fact “a devastating benchmark for the workers of this country and a testament to both the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of jobs growth from 2000 to 2007.”

The June figures did show continued slowing in the pace of job losses. From November to March — after the collapse of some prominent financial institutions — the labor market lost an average of 670,000 jobs each month. From April to June, the decline slowed to 436,000 a month.

The Obama administration seized on those numbers to argue that its stimulus spending plan was gradually working.

“We’re seeing a kind of leveling off here,” said Ms. Solis, the labor secretary.

Some economists contend that a recovery is indeed in its early stages, cautioning that the job market tends to lag behind progress in other areas.

Michael T. Darda, chief economist at the research and trading firm MKM Partners, pointed to a recent rally in the corporate bond market as a sign that normalcy was returning to the financial system. He asserted that this presaged the resumption of economic growth in the second half of this year and vigorous activity next year.

“The labor market is going to lag the recovery process to a certain degree,” he said.

But other experts argued that employment was a more crucial source of spending power than in downturns past, given how many alternate sources of cash had been lost.

Consumer spending amounts to 70 percent of overall American economic activity. In recent times, Americans found myriad ways to fuel spending even as incomes for many households stagnated, borrowing against the once-rising value of homes and tapping credit cards.

Now, the paycheck has returned as the primary source of spending. Yet pay is eroding even for those who have jobs.

The average workweek for rank-and-file employees in the private sector — roughly 80 percent of the work force — slipped by a fraction to 33 hours, the lowest level since the government began tracking such data in 1964.

The so-called underemployment rate — which captures not only the jobless but also those working part time because their hours have been cut or they cannot find a full-time job — increased to 16.5 percent.

Some economists contend that while unemployment remains high, millions of Americans will continue to watch their spending.

“It looks really bad,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. “There are no green shoots here. People can’t spend when they don’t have the money.”

For another month, the average length of official unemployment increased, this time to 24.5 weeks — the highest level since the government began tracking such data in 1948. The unemployment rate, 9.5 percent, is the highest since 1983.

Layoffs have slowed in recent months, but hiring has yet to pick up, meaning that jobless people face a more frustrating search.

In the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Jeffrey Jones, 40, has found no work since losing his job as a cook at a senior center in October. He worries about paying rent and caring for his four children.

“I know I’m not supposed to be letting it stress me out,” he said. “The way I’m going now, I won’t be able to make it too much longer. I can’t go this long without doing something for my family.”

Jack Healy contributed reporting.


That's Entertainment...view at full screen and listen with good speakers


Gone the birds!

Mass Medical Equals Mass Casualty

Click on picture to enlarge.


Massachusetts: A Model Not To Copy

by Phyllis Schlafly

The Obama-Kennedy health plan is modeled after the Massachusetts plan which, when adopted, many applauded as innovative and destined for success. In fact, the Massachusetts plan has been a massive failure and is a model for what not to do.

It has increased costs. It has wasted taxpayer dollars. It has limited patients' choice. It has hurt small business. It has failed to achieve its goal of universal coverage. Most objectionable, it has created shortages and waiting lists.

Promoters predicted that the Massachusetts plan would lower health-care costs but, so far, costs are moving in the opposite direction. State government spending on health-care programs in Massachusetts has increased by 42 percent since the plan was adopted in 2006, and currently is 33 percent above the national average.

Advocates promised that the Massachusetts plan would make health insurance more affordable but, according to a Cato study, insurance premiums have been increasing at nearly double the national average: 7.4 percent in 2007, 8 to 12 percent in 2008, and an expected 9 percent increase this year. Health insurance in Massachusetts costs an average of $16,897 for a family of four, compared to a national average of $12,700.

The Massachusetts plan incorporates a system of middle-class subsidies called Commonwealth Care to help pay for insurance for families with incomes up to 300 percent of poverty level ($66,150 for a family of four), and also expanded eligibility for Medicaid.

The Massachusetts Connector, a new bureaucracy that was supposed to increase patient choice, has become an overbearing regulatory arm of government that has decreased competition by prescribing benefits insurance must offer. The Connector is evidently unpopular with patients, since only 18,000 people have used the Connector to buy insurance during the past three years.

The Connector has imposed regulations that add to the cost of insurance and limit consumer choice, such as requiring prescription-drug coverage and preventive-care services, restricting high-deductible policies, and putting limits on annual or per-sickness policies. Complying with the Connector's rules means changing from your current insurance that you like.

The costs to the taxpayers are rising, too, and one tax increase has not satisfied the appetite of the hungry plan. The prospect of huge deficits has elicited discussion of cuts in reimbursements to providers and the imposition of a "global budget," which is a euphemism for rationing.

Even though Massachusetts has more doctors per capita than any other state, the Boston Globe reports that waiting periods to see physicians have grown. The average wait is now 63 days to see a family doctor, 50 days to see a specialist, and the second trimester of pregnancy to see an obstetrician-gynecologist.

If you want to see the busiest, most popular physicians, the wait can be up to a year. The longer waits are the result of thousands of newly insured residents coming into the health-care system.

Massachusetts has reduced the number of uninsured, but there are no reliable figures on how many are still uninsured since some statistics are based on telephone surveys that don't reach significant groups of people who lack landline telephones (such as young people and illegal aliens). Cato estimates that 200,000 are still uninsured.

If the number of uninsured had been measurably reduced, that should be reflected in the use of hospitals' emergency care facilities for uncompensated care. But hospitals don't confirm this effect.

Small business is hurting, too. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranks Massachusetts last of all the 50 states for business-friendly health-care policies.

A June 21 front-page article in the New York Times reported that one cancer unit in a Philadelphia Veterans Administration hospital bungled 92 of 116 prostate cancer treatments over six years (requiring these patients to undergo a second operation) before the errors were discovered. The real problem is that the government cannot run health care safely (or cheaper).

Canada is another model of what not to do. It's fortunate that Canada is so close to the United States because Canadians rely on American medicine for serious surgery.

De facto rationing in Canada is practiced by waiting lists rather than by using its realistic name. The Globe and Mail reports that the physician shortage is so acute that some towns hold lotteries to win a ticket granting access to the local doctor, and that Ontario sent 160 patients to New York and Michigan for emergency neurosurgery between 2006 and 2008.

Although President Obama told the American Medical Association that single-payer (government-controlled) health care works "pretty well" in other countries, no government has ever been able to run a health-care system as well as private enterprise. Less regulation of health care, not more government control, is the way to healthier Americans and lower costs.

Further reading:


Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Constitution of the United States ...a brief history

Thank Andrew Colvin for this breif history lesson here: The Constitution of the United States

"Our Constitution was made for only a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." -John Adams

How long will you keep yours? ...check this young lady's

A Page from Barack Obama’s Diary

Source: Family Security Matters

Exclusive: A Page from Barack Obama’s Diary

No, I Won’t Show Them My Birth Certificate!

Dear Diary,
It seems a handful of Americans aren’t getting on to the Hope and Change™ bandwagon along with those enlightened worshippers folks who voted for Me last November. Not only are they criticizing My policy of not meddling with oppressive dictators in Honduras and Iran while telling Israel what to do, but they’re also not happy with the way I’m causing the economy to tank so that socialism will seem like the only answer to our problems. Who do they think they are? Let Me be perfectly clear: I WON. Get used to it.
What’s even more upsetting these days – no, it’s not that Michelle wants to inch her way into the West Wing, although that comes pretty close. I mean, can’t I get a little time away from her? We all saw how well Bill and Hillary’s relationship fared when they worked together. I won’t stand a chance if Michelle throws a lamp at Me – she’s way more buff than I am.
But back to the issue at hand: what really crisps My bacon is that people are DARING to question My citizenship bona fides. Yeah, yeah, I know that the Constitution declares that a president must be born here in the United States, blah blah blah. I’m a constitutional lawyer, after all. Not very multicultural of the founders, but what do you expect from a bunch of dead white guys who wore wigs? I think my turban is much more attractive. Yet who are they, the unwashed masses who don’t get to enjoy Wagyu steak and vodka martinis on the taxpayers’ dime, to ask Me to prove where I was born? I’ve a good mind to bankrupt them so they have more important things to think about it. Oh wait, I’m already working on that! Yay Me!
Even that jerk Rush Limbaugh has been making jokes about the birth certificate at My expense, asking what God and I have in common. (By the way, I think I’m probably a lot better looking than God.) I’ve got to do something about this guy, and fast. No, not God, Rush. But maybe I’ll look into the God thing later. Here he is, raking in millions of dollars, flying around in his own plane as though he was the president or something, and influencing the thinking of millions of people. He gets almost as many listeners in one day than I had viewers for my healthcare proclamation town hall on ABC last week – and that’s just counting the major markets. By the way, he makes such a big deal about My middle name, I wonder what his is? Why is that such a big secret? It must be something embarrassing, like Elmer or Hezekiah. Well, he and his talk radio pals had better watch out. There’s a new sheriff in town, and let’s just say I’m not like that “honorable” sucker Gary Cooper played in High Noon.
Now back to the birth certificate: Frankly, it’s no one’s business but Mine where I was born. That’s why I had the Hawaiian governor put it under lock and key. Boy, was it convenient that Granny got sick when she did during the campaign. John McCain may have buckled under pressure to produce his proof of birth, but I’m not John McCain. I won, remember? Besides, I have something ol’ John didn’t have – my moral authority as the first black president. Who in their right mind would dare question me? These bitter clingers are a bigger pain than I bargained for.
That reminds Me, I have to place an order for those brown shirts for My pals at ACORN.
So do you hear Me, America? There’s no way I’m going to jeopardize the coolest gig I’ve had since My community organizing days by producing My birth certificate. I’ve got a lot of socializing to do, and I won’t let a ratty old piece of paper get in My way.
No, Diary, I won’t tell you if that ratty piece of paper is the Constitution or My birth certificate. I’ll let you try to figure it out.
That’s all for now, Diary. Time to check in to see where I’m flying off to next. I hope Air Force One has plenty of those little peanut packets with My face on them. Oh, and some fresh arugula. Heck, I don’t have to worry about how much it costs anymore!
P.S. Don’t tell King Abdullah that I made a reference to bacon, ‘k? He might not understand
Want to see something that's really scary? Click here: Obituary Column: United States Of America

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

There Goes The First Amendment...Is Helen Thomas finally catching on?

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" - The First Amendment of the United States Constitution

Update: Glenn Beck comments....

Helen Thomas bashes...Obama?

Many never thought they'd ever see the day that Helen Thomas took someone else besides George W. Bush to task. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs (Vegas odds he lasts more than 12 months at the job are currently 75-1) got absolutely owned by Chip Reid and Thomas recently over the allegations of a staged town hall meeting where Obama knew the Q and A's ahead of time.

Watch the exchange
here (Thomas jumps in around 2:00 into the clip) and take special note of how unbelievably bad of a job Robert Gibbs does.

Thomas revealed more frustration in an interview with CNS News:

“Nixon didn’t try to do that,” Thomas said. “They couldn’t control (the media). They didn’t try. “What the hell do they think we are, puppets?” Thomas said. “They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are our public servants. We pay them.”

Thomas said she was especially concerned about the arrangement between the Obama Administration and a writer from the liberal Huffington Post Web site. The writer was invited by the White House to President Obama’s press conference last week on the understanding that he would ask Obama a question about Iran from among questions that had been sent to him by people in Iran.

“When you call the reporter the night before you know damn well what they are going to ask to control you,” Thomas said. “I’m not saying there has never been managed news before, but this is carried to fare-thee-well–for the town halls, for the press conferences,” she said. “It’s blatant. They don’t give a damn if you know it or not. They ought to be hanging their heads in shame.”

Does this mean Obama's honeymoon with the press is coming to an end?


More proof that the Socialist Party is Anti-American

Shocking video of NY Democrats sitting through the Pledge of Allegiance

Not shocking...just everyday occurrences with the new Obama Socialists


Regarding Global Warming...facts that everyone should know!

EPA Suppresses Pertinent Information Regarding Global Warming
On a number of occasions I have warned about the politicizing of things beyond our control. The practice of legislating technology that has not been invented yet is one of my great peeves. Fooling with Mother Nature is another!
It is simply amazing that a significant nobody can suddenly have more knowledge than the goddesses Ankhaile and Oreithyia by simply getting elected. First it was global warming. Supposedly man was getting Ankhaile angry and being a god, Ankhaile punished us with hot air (mostly from the mouths of politicians). Then it was global cooling (Another Ice Age Time Magazine 1974) and Oreithyia spewed forth some major ice storms. Now we're back to global warming and both Ankhaile and Oreithyia agreed to the change! Wow! It's all so simple now...change...aah ha, now I get's climate change! And it is all caused by the gods Ankhaile and Oreithyia.
Did you ever wonder why the politicians harp on an issue like climate change? Since I've been following this since I was a child (Global Warming, Bah Humbug) I can tell you. It's all about the money...and control!
The United Nations has been using climate change to generate revenues for years (long before Al Gore) and they have been forcing governments around the world to heed to their beliefs...all in the name of... I repeat, money and control! (Note the reference to the United Nations in the video below). - Norman E. Hooben
There's more...

Below is a reprint of a July 1, 2009 letter to Congress by a team of atmospheric scientists.


You have recently received an Open Letter from the Woods Hole Research Center, exhorting you to act quickly to avoid global disaster. The letter purports to be from independent scientists, but that Center is the former den of the President's science advisor, John Holdren, and is far from independent. This is the same science advisor who has given us predictions of “almost certain” thermonuclear war or eco-catastrophe by the year 2000, and many other forecasts of doom that somehow never seem to arrive on time.

The facts are:

The sky is not falling; the Earth has been cooling for ten years, without help. The present cooling was NOT predicted by the alarmists' computer models, and has come as an embarrassment to them.

The finest meteorologists in the world cannot predict the weather two weeks in advance, let alone the climate for the rest of the century. Can Al Gore? Can John Holdren? We are flooded with claims that the evidence is clear, that the debate is closed, that we must act immediately, etc, but in fact


The proposed legislation would cripple the US economy, putting us at a disadvantage compared to our competitors. For such drastic action, it is only prudent to demand genuine proof that it is needed, not guesswork, and not false claims about the state of the science.


Finally, climate alarmism pays well. Many alarmists are profiting from their activism. There are billions of dollars floating around for the taking, and being taken.

Robert H. Austin
Professor of Physics
Princeton University
Fellow APS, AAAS
American Association of Arts and Science Member National Academy of Sciences

William Happer
Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics
Princeton University
Fellow APS, AAAS
Member National Academy of Sciences

S. Fred Singer
Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus, University of Virginia
First Director of the National Weather Satellite Service

Roger W. Cohen
Manager, Strategic Planning and Programs, ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)
Fellow APS

Harold W. Lewis
Professor of Physics Emeritus
University of California at Santa Barbara
Fellow APS, AAAS; Chairman, APS Reactor Safety Study

Laurence I. Gould
Professor of Physics
University of Hartford
Chairman (2004), New England Section of APS

Richard Lindzen
Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Fellow American Academy of Arts and Sciences, AGU, AAAS, and AMS
Member Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Member National Academy of Sciences